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In Baltimore, west side displays signs of new life

Four companies ready to move in

20-screen movie complex planned

June 06, 1999|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

"I am not in favor of an historic district. I am in favor of a careful preservation process that looks at each building individually and determines its historic value," Brodie said.

In addition to the debate about the merits of the redevelopment project, there is a debate about who should lead it.

Some state officials, including Del. Howard P. Rawlings, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the city should form a nonprofit corporation modeled after the successful Charles Center-Inner Harbor Development Corp.

Quasi-public agency

Critics of forming a new quasi-governmental agency say the city already has an organization coordinating its development efforts, the Baltimore Development Corp.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke created the corporation, which has a budget of $2.5 million and 45 employees, a decade ago to consolidate the efforts of two other economic development agencies.

Skeptics question whether the city has given the overworked BDC enough money or personnel to tackle condemnation and reconstruction in the redevelopment area.

Schmoke plans to meet with advocates for a separate west side redevelopment corporation, said his spokesman, Clinton R. Coleman.

"If they want to set up a private corporation that is privately funded to serve as an advocacy organization for development in that area, I have no objection to that," Schmoke said through his spokesman.

"However, if they want to set up a separate organization to which we would delegate local governmental powers -- such as zoning, condemnation or the use of public dollars -- we can't support that," Schmoke said.

Pub Date: 6/06/99

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